Scheduling meetings is not always easy… Trying to find agenda darts with multiple participants can be a process where a lot of mails are being sent from/to all directions. Over the course of time, I have tried out several tools to help me on this front ;
In today’s post, we’ll take a look at the various options and give you a bit of an insight into the workings of each.
Continue reading “Advanced meeting scheduling ; Let us compare various tools”
A bit less than 10 years ago I posted about “Inbox Zero“. Though for as long as I’ve known the concept, I’ve been an avid fan/believer of it. Over the course of the years, I’ve evangelized about the concept to many, where a lot of people typically asked me : “Isn’t that really time-consuming?!?”. My answer has always been ; “It is a habit… And indeed, you invest a bit of time into it, though the gains of not having to pick up the same email(s) over and over again is where you easily win!”.
The basic premise of Inbox Zero is that your inbox is at all times.. EMPTY!
For a lot of people this seems impossible to achieve, though you realize this by going though the following flow for each mails that comes in… at the time it comes in. So yes, you “immediately” (as in the moment you open your mailbox) process all new mails. How do you do that, by the following rule set…
- Do I/we need to care?
- No, Delete.
- Yes. Great! Is the mail something I should do?
- No, Delegate (forward).
- Yes. Interesting! Can I reply in less than 2-3 minutes?
- Yes, Respond (reply).
- No, Defer (flag for follow-up). => And schedule times to where you’ll focus on burning through your “backlog” (read: deferred mails), so Do.
That sounds quite simple to do? So why don’t we all do it?!? From what I’ve seen, it starts with not knowing / being taught the system. And on the other had, it also requires a given level of discipline / organization to achieve it. Though in my mind, it can be accomplished by all if you are just given a bit of practical guidance. That’s what we’ll be talking about today!
Continue reading “Inbox Zero – How I (still) do it after about 10 years…”
With one of my flows, I was using an Azure function to generate a filename for my Azure logic app. This name was generated based on the date…
What did I see happening…
As I the script ran just after midnight, I saw that I was getting the day before instead of the actual date.
Continue reading “Changing the timezone on your Azure Webapp / App Service / Function”
Personally, I am someone who is always on time. A disaster must have struck down upon us before I am late to anything. I would rather sit in my car for an hour as I am way too early for a meeting, than to be a minute late. This week I learned that there is a term that follows the same belief!
Vince Lombardi was the head coach of Greenbay Packers. He ran a disciplined regime and introduced something that later became known as “Lombardi Time” ;
Lombardi expected his players and coaches to be 15 minutes early to meetings and practices. Not on time — 15 minutes early. If they weren’t, he considered them “late.” Thus, it came to be called Lombardi time.
A fun fact ; The clock above the entrance of the Greenbay Packers their stadium runs 15 minutes early…
So next time we have a meeting together, show up on Lombardi time. I’ll be there!
Often I see people struggling with their mailbox… Personally, I’ve been using the “Inbox Zero” for several years, and it’s not that difficult to manage. Check the following slideware to get a grasp of the concept ;
Simply put ; Make sure your Inbox is always empty
If an email enters, use the following sequence as a ruleset
- Delete ; If it’s not meant for you, or your team, just delete… So the things you categorize as SPAM.
- Delegate ; If it’s not meant for you, delegate it to the person that needs to do it.
- Respond or Do ; Respond or Do it, when it’s less than 5 minutes work.
- Defer ; Archive the mail, and put a “read later” flag on it.
Source : Book Summary – 10 Big Ideas from “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta
- #1: Simplicity means identifying what’s essential, then eliminating the rest.
- #2: Focusing on the essential produces the most results for the least effort.
- #3: You must set limits – they don’t set themselves.
- #4: Focus on only one thing at a time.
- #5: Limit your active goals and projects to no more than 3-4 at a time.
- #6: Establish three Most Important Tasks (MITs) every day, and do those before working on anything else.
- #7: Batch similar tasks together to preserve your focus.
- #8: Installing positive habits is easiest when you start small, then build on your early success.
- #9: Consciously minimize your active commitments, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to new ones.
- #10: Slow down, pay attention, and enjoy the process.
Lifehacker just featured an article called “Debunking The Myth of Multitasking“.
In a fast-paced business culture of “get everything done yesterday,” it’s easy to admire and reward those busybusy people who always seem to be juggling 14 things at once. But business coach Dave Crenshaw argues that the most common kind of multitasking doesn’t boost productivity–it slows you down.
I kinda forget the reference for this, but a while ago I read that, with each interruption, the brain will need about 15 minutes to get all things in order again. This so that you’re at the same situation that you were when you were interrupted.
What are the characteristiccs?
- Stand Up : Everybody stands up, nobody sits down.
- 15 or less: Short session; max. 15min, if possible even shorter
- Token : Only the one holding the token speaks, and (s)he speaks towards the whole group.
- Offline : It isn’t a problem-solving meeting. So issues will be handled -offline- when it become too detailled. Meaning that they will be addressed after the meeting with only the affected persons involved.
What should you discuss?
- Yesterday : What did I do yesterday
- Today : What will I be doing today.
- Obstacles : What’s blocking me.
- Focus : Relevance to the backlog (general todo-list)
Which are the advantages?
- Identify obstacles : The meeting is a tool to identify problems, not to solve them. During the meeting people can indicate that they can assist you with your problem. Yet the actually discussion will be handled offline.
- Set direction and focus : A standup meeting will also help to keep everyone aligned towards the team goal. That way we won’t lose any time on less relevant things.
- Share commitment : We commit ourselves to tasks on a daily basis. By putting them in a group, we’ll be sharing the commitment on these issues (and thus knowing the existence).
- Communicate status : Communicating status is secondary to the identification of problems. Yet it’s a big factor that the key points of everyone’s daily task is know by everyone. The communication aspect isn’t meant to communicate to management, but to the other team members.
- Build a team : Don’t create groups, but create one team by knowing what everyone does.
For more information checkt he links on Wikipedia…
The following slideshare is about the “Inbox Zero” concept. If you like the concept behind this time-management technique, then you might also want to check out the full video that was used as basis for this presentation.